The Impact of Customer Satisfaction on Word of Mouth Behavior: A Study in the Hotel Industry

Rosario Espinola Sanchez

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to investigate the impact of customer satisfaction on the motivation to generate eWOM in the hotel industry. With this purpose, the Hollebeek and Chen (2014) customer engagement model is applied to analyze how customers’ perception of specific company interactions during service delivery affect satisfaction and their motivation to engage in positive or negative eWOM. The SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman et al., 1988) has been used in combination with the engagement model to adapt the customers ́ perception of specific company interactions to a service context. The decision to apply the SERVQUAL dimensions as a driver of engagement is based on a comprehensive literature review. Many authors support the validity of SERVQUAL scale to assess customers’ perception of the service delivered in the hotel industry (e.g. Getty and Getty ,2003; Mei et al 1999; Akan 1995).
In order to test the hypotheses derived from the mentioned theories, a quantitative analysis based on the information collected from 141 surveys allowed to test the correlation between variables. Moreover, qualitative data gathered through focus group interview contributed to validate the findings from quantitative analysis. The results support that there is a connection between satisfaction and eWOM behaviour. Key findings of this study are that price payed for the service and physical features of the hotel are the strongest drivers that motivate guests to generate positive or negative online reviews. The findings also show that employees behaviour have an impact on the final decision to engage in eWOM.
The main implication for managers is that a proper management of specific interactions with service customers can help to foster positive eWOM and to reduce negative one. Special attention should be payed to front line employees’ performance.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages113